Roots of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

Selected Repertoire: 1881-1921

In addition to knowing who played when and where, it is perhaps equally interesting to discover exactly what was being played during the early performances by Kalamazoo’s first orchestras. Classical music was only just beginning to reach general audiences in the United States at the time, and public performances—especially in smaller communities—were often “tempered” with lighter, more popular works—many of which today remain all but forgotten—that were designed to hold the attention of those unfamiliar with more sophisticated repertoire.

Kalamazoo College Orchestra (1881)

What follows is representative of the repertoire performed in 1881 by the Kalamazoo College Orchestra, Kalamazoo’s first concert orchestra.

Learn more: Roots of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra.

“Kalamazoo College Graduation Exercises”

The Kalamazoo College graduation exercises on 22 June 1881 at First Baptist Church included the following selections performed by the Kalamazoo College Orchestra:

  • “Strength of Union” march (unattributed)
  • “La Traviata” by Guiseppe Verdi
  • “Happy Time of Youth” waltz (unattributed)
  • “Congress” waltz by William Winterstein

“Musical Festival: A Grand Orchestral Concert”

The concert given on 16 December 1881 at First Baptist Church included the following selections performed by the Kalamazoo College Orchestra:

  • (Guest soloists: Professor E. J. Toof, Professor Louis F. Boos, Miss Marian Sherwood)
    Part I.
  • “La Traviata” (Verdi), Orchestra.
  • Piano solo, “Waltz in £ Flat” (Bubenstein), Mr. E. J. Toof.
  • Violin solo, “Reverie” (Vienxtemos), Mr. N. P. Stanton.
  • “Sounds from Home” (A.Neibig), Orchestra.
  • Cornet solo Louis F. Boos.
  • “Zouave Galop” (Eichler), Orchestra.
  • Part II.
  • “Girofla-Girofla” (Lecocq) Orchestra.
  • Juvenile selections—A. Violin solo, melodies from Mendelsshon and Beethoven, Master Eddie Lilienfeld. B. Violin duet, “Carnival of Venice” (Wichtl), Misses Marian and Orpha Howlett. C. Violin solo, “3d Air Varie Dancla,” Master Goddy Rosenbaum, Eddie Desenberg, acc.
  • Vocal solo, “O Mio Fernando” (Donizetti), Miss Marian Sherwood.
  • Waltz, “Sounds from Home” (Zikoff), Orchestra.
  • Violin solo, “Souvenir de Posen” (Wieniawski), Mr. N. P. Stanton.
  • Cornet solo Mr Louis F. Boos.
  • “Allegro Finale” (C. Reicharat), Orchestra.

Symphony Orchestra (1894)

What follows is representative of the repertoire performed in 1894 by the Symphony Orchestra, Kalamazoo's first professional symphony orchestra, plus historic recordings and sheet music from the same time period for illustration.

Learn more: Roots of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

“The Recital”

The 30 April 1894 recital at the Y.M.C.A. auditorium featured the following music by the “Symphony Club” (first Symphony Orchestra public appearance):

  • (opening) Overture
  •  - Attitudes, Frieze and Art Studies;
  •  - 1. Salutation;
  •  - 2. Looking;
  •  - 3. Sorrow;
  •  - 4. Death of Virginia;
  •  - 5. Meditation;
  •  - 6. Fear;
  •  - 7. Recoiling;
  •  - 8. Joy;
  •  - 9. Shame;
  •  - 10. Defiance;
  •  - 11. Coquetry;
  •  - 12. Death of Patroclin;
  •  - 13. Scorn;
  •  - 14. Suspicion;
  •  - 15. Adoration;
  •  - 16. Curiosity;
  •  - 17. Confidence.
  • (closing) Music

Historic Recording: “In the Clock Store”

in-the-clock-store-1893-160.jpg

Sheet music, ca. 1893
Lewis Music Library, MIT

“In the Clock Store,” performed by the Edison Concert Band.
Charles J. Orth (composer), 1893

Internet Archive (MP3 audio file)

“The Rivals”

The 16 May 1894 debut performance at the Academy of Music featured the following program by the Symphony Orchestra:

  • “Liberty Bell” march, Sousa
  • “Bohemian Girl” overture, Balfe
  • “Donauwellen” waltz, Ivanovici
  • “Cocoanut Dance” characteristic, Hermann
  • “American Cadets” march, Hall

“Bronson Operatic Minstrels”

The 19 June 1894 performance with Bronson’s Minstrels at the Academy of Music featured the following program by the Symphony Orchestra:

  • “The Fox Hunt (A Hunting Scene),” Ernest Bucalossi (1859-1933)
  • “Way Down South” overture, (unknown)

“Grand Musical Festival”

The 26 June 1894 concert at Unitarian Church included the following selections performed by the Symphony Orchestra:

  • “Bohemian Girl” overture, Balfe
  • “The Fox Hunt (A Hunting Scene),” Ernest Bucalossi (1859-1933)
  • “American Cadet” march, Hall
  • “In the Clock Store” descriptive fantasie, Chas. J. Orth

“Special mention may be made of one of their favorite selections which they will give on this occasion, ‘In the Clock Store.’ The apprentice opens the store in the morning and winds up the different clocks, the ticking of which gradually develops into a musical imitation of a clock store. The cuckoo clock strikes the hour, after which the deep sound of another clock is heard. The alarm clock then rings a merry rattle, followed by the striking of another in harmony with the music. The apprentice then whistles a little tune. After this the clock that contains the chimes gradually runs down and stops and on to the end of the selection.”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 20 June 1894

“Grand Sacred Concert” (Afternoon)

The 26 August 1894 afternoon performance at Lake View Park featured the following program by the Symphony Orchestra:

  • “Gloria in Excelsis,” from “12th Mass,” Mozart
  • “Unfold, Ye Portals,”  from “The Redemption,” Gounod
  • “Emanuel,”  song for cornet, Handel
  • “I know that my Redeemer liveth,”  from “Messiah,” Handel
  • “The Palms,” song without words, Fauré
  • “Sounds from the Sunny South,” Isenman
  • “The Heavens are Telling,”  from “The Creation,” Haydn
  • “Sanctus,”  from “St. Cecilia Mass,” Gounod
  • “American Cadet” march, Hall

Historic Recording: “Liberty Bell”

sousa-liberty-bell-march-160.jpg

Sheet music, ca. 1893
Duke University

“Liberty Bell” march, performed by the New York Military Band.
John Philip Sousa (composer), 1893

Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project, UC Santa Barbara Library

“Grand Sacred Concert” (Evening)

  • “The American Philatelist” march, Kundson
  • “Bohemian Girl” overture, Balfe
  • “Donauwellen” waltz, Ivanovici
  • “Salvation Army Patrol,” Herman
  • “Quoniam,” from “Mass in G,” Mozart
  • “The Fox Hunt (Hunt Theme),” Bucalossi
  • “Minuet,” from “Symphony No. 100 in G major,” Haydn
  • “Turkish March,” from “Ruins of Athens,” Beethoven
  • “Cocoanut Dance,” Hermann
  • “Liberty Bell” march, Sousa

Philharmonic Orchestra (1895)

What follows is representative of the repertoire performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra.

Learn more: Roots of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

“Evening Concert”

The 9 January 1895 performance at the YMCA auditorium featured the following program by the Philharmonic Orchestra:

  • Overture, “Italiano in Algae,” Rossini
  • Descriptive, “Mill in the Forest,” Eilenberg
  • Serenade, “Magnolia, Missud” - Sam Born, cornet
  • Overture, “Poet and Peasant,” von Suppé
  • Caprice, “The Butterfly,” Bendix - Otto Schultz, flute; George Balcom, clarinet
  • “Manuscript Waltzes,” Strauss
  • March, “Corcoran Cadets,” Sousa

“Opening the Season”

A 12 May 1895 performance at Lake View Park featured the following program by the Philharmonic Orchestra:

  • March, “The Thunderer,” Sousa
  • Medley, “The Roof Garden,” DeWitt
  • Serenade, “Hispaniola,” Marcadas
  • Waltz, “Philharmonic,” Beyer
  • Overture, “Bohemian Girl,” Balfe
  • Gallop, “Away,” Rose
  • Overture, “The Twilight Hour,” Boettger
  • Selection, “Erminie,” Jakobowski
  • Waltz, “Visions of a Beautiful Woman,” Fahrbach
  • Song and Dance, “O’Flaherty,” Rose
  • “Auld Lang Syne,” Thiele

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (1910)

Known repertoire performed by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in 1910 and 1911.

Learn more: Roots of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

1910 Rehearsal

The 13 December 1910 rehearsal at the YMCA included the following pieces:

  • “War March of the Priests” (from “Athalia”), Mendelssohn
  • Overture, “Ruy Blas,” Mendelssohn
  • “Symphony No. 39 in E Flat, K. 543,” Mozart
  • Overture, “Tancrède,” Rossini

1911 Performance

The 7 March 1911 performance at First Presbyterian Church featured the following program by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra:

  • “War March of the Priests” (from Athalia”), Mendelssohn
  • “Symphony No. 39 in E Flat, K. 543,” Mozart
  • Overture, “Tancrède,” Rossini

kalamazoo-symphony-1914-598.jpg

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, ca. 1915

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (1914)

What follows is representative of the repertoire performed by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in 1914 and 1915.

Learn more: Roots of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

1914 “Big Benefit Concert”

The 22 February 1914 benefit performance at the Armory featured the following program by the union orchestra (Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra):

  • Overture, “William Tell,” Rossini
  • Trio of favorites:
  • (a) Entr'acte, “Blanco,” W. E. Lud
  • (b) Valse, “Poudree,” Francis Pogy
  • (c) Entr'acte from: “Mignon, Gavotte,” A. Thomas
  • Selection from “The Enchantress,” Victor Herbert
  • “Minuet,” I. Paderewski
  • March, “National Emblem,” Edwin Bagley

1914 Debut Performance

The 29 March 1914 debut performance at the Armory featured the following program by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra:

  • Overture, “Die Irrfahrt um's Glück (Fortune's Labyrinth),” von Suppe
  • Selection, “Adele,” Brequet
  • Soprano solo:
  • (a) Aria, “Marriage of Figaro,” Mozart
  • (b) “Joy of the Morning,” Harriet Ware
  • (c) “The City of Rachel,” Salter
  • “Tzigani Dances,” Carrie Jacobs Bond
  • Waltz Suite, “Bower of Beauty,” Ellis Brooks
  • Tenor solo:
  • (a) “Queen of the Earth,” Pinsuti
  • (b) “The Last Rose of Summer,” Moore
  • After Vespers, “A Twilight Meditation,” Neil Moret
  • “Selection of favorite Southern Airs,” arranged by Lampe
  • “March of the Nations,” (possibly) Walter J. Pond

1914 “Another Grand Concert”

The 26 April 1914 performance at the Armory featured the following program by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra:

  • “Hungarian Lustspiel” Overture, Kéler Béla
  • Selection: “Carmen,” G Bizet
  • “April Morn,” Batten (Hildred Hanson Hostetter, voc., Glenn Anderson, piano)
    (a) Intermezzo “Mizzoula,” Edward B. Desenberg
    (b) “Entr Acte Gavotte,” E. Gillette
  • 39th Symphony, “Minuet and Finale,” Mozart
  • “Within the Gardens of My Heart,” Scott (Stanley T. Perry, voc., Glenn Aumond, piano)
  • Waltz Suite: “Florana,” Ellis Brooks
  • Villanelle, “Deja Acqua” (Hildred Hanson Hostetter, voc., Glenn Anderson, piano)
  • Minuet: “La Antique,” I. Paderewski

1915 “Why is War”

The 6 April 1915 performance at the Armory featured the following program by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra:

  • Overture “Hunting for Luck,” Franz von Suppe
  • Selection from the opera “High Jinks,” Rudolf Friml
  • Waltz Suite “Garden of Roses,” Ellis Brooks
  • A Tone Picture “After-Glow,” George L Cobb
  • Angelus from “Scènes Pittoresques,” Jules Massenet
  • “Swedish Fest March,” Albert Perfect

1915 Final Winter Season Performance

The 11 April 1915 performance at the Masonic Temple featured the following program by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra:

  • “Hungarian Lustspiel” Overture, Kéler Béla
  • “First Love (Premier Amour)” Waltz, Abraham Holzmann
  • “Song of the Soul,” Joseph Carl Breil. Frances Walton Crandall, soprano.
  • Selection of Southern Folk Songs, arr. Lempe
  • A popular suite,
  • (a) “Dance of the Rose Maidens,” Edmund Braham
  • (b) “Nature’s Adoration,” Ellis Brooks
  • (c) “Sleigh Bell Dance,” Ellis Brooks
  • Cello soloist: Hilda Hinrichs
  • Three Chopin numbers:
  • (a) “Prelude,” Op. 28, Frédéric Chopin
  • (b) “Waltz,” Op. 64, Frédéric Chopin
  • (c) “Polonaise Militaire,” Op. 40, Frédéric Chopin
  • Encores:
  • “The Swan” by Camille Saint-Saëns, Hilda Hinrichs
  • “Spanish Waltz” song, Frances Walton Crandall

Fuller Symphonic Orchestra (1920-1921)

What follows is representative of the repertoire performed by the Fuller Symphonic Orchestra in 1920 and 1921.

Learn more: Roots of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

1920 Debut Performance

The 17 October 1920 debut performance at the Fuller Theatre featured the following program by the Fuller Symphony Orchestra:

  • Overture, “Hungarian Comedy” op.108, Béla Kéler
  • Waltz Suite, “Floriana,” Ellis Brooks
  • Intermezzo, “Forget Me Not” op. 22, Allan Macbeth
  • “Serenade d’Amour,” Franz von Blon

1920 “Four Nationalities”

The 15 November 1920 performance at the Fuller Theatre featured the following program by the Fuller Symphony Orchestra:

  • Prelude in C Sharp Minor, Rachmaninoff
  • Popular Selection, “Hawaiian Twilight,” Carl D. VanderSloot
  • “An American Idol,” Victor Herbert
  • Popular Selection, “Spanish Moon,” Ray Sherwood

1920 “A Very Beautiful Production”

The 29 November 1920 performance at the Fuller Theatre featured the following program by the Fuller Symphony Orchestra:

  • Overture, “Phèdre,” Jules Massenet
  • Selection from “The Girl in the Spotlight,” Victor Herbert
  • Intermezzo, “Mizzoula,” Edward B. Desenberg
  • “Moon Shadows,” Schroeder

1920 “To Be Continued”

The 19 December 1920 performance at the Fuller Theatre featured the following program by the Fuller Symphony Orchestra:

  • Grand March Triumphal from “Aida,” Giuseppe Verdi
  • Popular Suite:
  • (a) “The Barefoot Trail,” Alvin S. Wiggers
  • (b) “I’m Telling You,” Kluckman
  • “Anitra’s Dance” from “Peer Gynt Suite,” Edvard Grieg
  • Fox Trot Song: “Blue Jeans,” Lou Traveller

1921 “An Enjoyable Program”

The 23 January 1921 performance at the Fuller Theatre featured the following program by the Fuller Symphony Orchestra:

  • “Jubel-Ouvertüre,” J.245, Op.59, Carl Weber
  • Popular, “Our Wedding Day,” Romano
  • Songs for the Trombone, Selected, Dingman De Smit
  • Popular, “I Used To Love You But It’s All Over Now,” Albert Von Tilzer

kalamazoo-symphony-1921-4-598.jpg

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, ca. 1921, C. Z. Bronson conducting
Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra archives 

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra” (1921)

What follows is representative of the repertoire performed by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra during its 1921-22 inaugural season.

Learn more: Roots of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

symphony-orchestra-12-11-1921-240.jpg

Kalamazoo Gazette, 11 December 1921

 

symphony-orchestra-01-21-1922-240.jpg

Kalamazoo Gazette, 21 January 1922

 

symphony-orchestra-04-16-1922-240.jpg

Kalamazoo Gazette, 16 April 1922

“Christmas Oratorio at the Armory”

The 11 December 1921 performance at the Armory included one selection by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra:

  • Overture, “Phèdre,” Jules Massenet

“Official” Debut Performance

The 18 December 1921 program at the Armory featured the following selections by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra:

  • Overture, “Phèdre,” Jules Massenet
  • Serenata, “Love in Idleness,” Allen Macbeth
  • Symphony No. 8 in B minor (“Unfinished Symphony”), Franz Schubert
  • Waltz Suite, “Bower of Beauty,” Ellis Brooks
  • “Angelus,” Jules Massenet
  • “The Erl King,” Franz Liszt

“Sunday Afternoon Music”

The 22 January 1922 performance at the Armory featured the following selections by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra:

  • Overture, “The Beautiful Galathea,” Franz von Suppé
  • “After Vespers,” Neil Moret
  • “My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice,” from Samson and Delilah, Camille Saint-Saens
  • (a) “Entr'acte Gavotte,” Ernest Gillet
  • (b) “Minuetta,” Franz Xaver Scharwenka
  • “Marche Militaire No.1 and 2,” Franz Schubert
  • Minuet, Symphony No. 94 in G major (“The Surprise”), Franz Joseph Haydn

“An Unusually Fine Program”

The 26 March 1922 performance at the Masonic Temple featured pianist Cecil Pratt, with the following selections by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra:

  • “Fest Overture,” A. Leutner
  • “Allegro Appasionata,” Saint Saens - Miss Cecil Prat
  • “Fifth Symphony,” Beethoven, Allegro con brio, Andante con moto, Allegro
  • “L’Encore,” Victor Herbert (for clarinet and flute), Harry B. Parker and Charles Brocato
  • Intermezzo from “Jewels of the Madonna,” Wolf-Ferrari

Continuing Research

Like many of our Local History essays, this article is by no means a definitive study but rather a continuing work-in-progress. If you have new information, corrections, or items to share, please contact the author or the Local History Room.

Sources

Papers

A History of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

  • Tiefenthal, Dwight.
  • 9 August 1943
  • typescript; noncirculating. see History Room Subject File: Symphony Orchestra, Kalamazoo

Articles

“The Symphony Orchestra”

  • Kalamazoo Gazette, 1 May 1894, p. 4.

“Symphony Orchestra”

  • Kalamazoo Gazette, 22 July 1894, p. 1.

“Some Real Band Music”

  • The Falls City Tribune (Falls City, NE), 27 May 1904

“Prominent Teachers and Players: J. W. McLouth”

  • The Crescendo (Boston, MA), undated, ca 1913

“Bronson Funeral Conducted by Elks”

  • Kalamazoo Gazette, 30 September 1926

“Chester Z. Bronson Dies in 69th Year”

  • Kalamazoo Gazette, 28 September 1926

“Conductor Bronson Has Long Career As Leading Musician”

  • Kalamazoo Gazette, 1924

Websites

Local History Room Files

History Room Name File: Bronson, Chester Z.

History Room Subject File: Music.

History Room Subject File: Symphony Orchestra, Kal.

Learn More

Related reading from Kalamazoo Public Library’s Local History essays.